Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be attending the G20 summit in Bali next week, although the country will have representation with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attending, an Indonesian government official has said. Jodi Mahardi, spokesperson for the Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment affairs, also said that Putin will join one of the meetings virtually.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, western countries and Ukraine had been forcing Indonesia to withdraw the invite to Putin as well as expel him from the body. However, the country said that it doesn’t have the power to do so and a decision like this could only be reached after a consensus among members.
US President Joe Biden is also attending the summit and had previously said he had no intention of meeting Putin in Bali if he went. The decision comes as Moscow suffers losses in Ukraine and has announced that it will withdraw forces from Kherson.
US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that the war has killed or wounded 40,000 Ukrainian civilians and “well over” 100,000 Russian soldiers till date. He estimated an equal amount of soldier deaths on the Ukrainian side as well.
“There has been a tremendous amount of suffering, human suffering,” he said at The Economic Club of New York.
Milley also said that there are around 30,000 Russian troops in Kherson and a complete withdrawal will likely take weeks,
“The initial indicators are they are in fact doing it. They made the public announcement they’re doing it. I believe they’re doing it in order to preserve their force to reestablish defensive lines south of the (Dnieper) river, but that remains to be seen,” he said.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo is concerned that the summit might be overshadowed by a “very worrying” rise in international tensions. “The G20 is not meant to be a political forum. It’s meant to be about economics and development,” he was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also among the invitees, even though Ukraine is not a member of the bloc. However, he will join the summit virtually after saying he would not take part if Putin does. Several other world leaders are due to attend the summit that starts on November 15.
Earlier, a top diplomat had walked out of a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali held in July after officials condemned Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.